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ECPAT International Advocates for Child Protection at 23rd OSCE Anti-Trafficking Conference in Vienna

Posted on May 10, 2023


VIENNA — ECPAT International actively participated in panel discussions at the 23rd Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Alliance against Trafficking in Persons from 18-19 April 2023, under the theme of “It’s About People: National Leadership to End Human Trafficking”.  

This year, the conference focused on raising awareness of the evolving nature of human trafficking and the need for coordinated and harmonized political leadership to combat this issue across the region.   

Participants shared positive examples of effective national anti-trafficking systems and highlighted areas where legislative and policy changes were needed to complement traditional anti-trafficking efforts with more ambitious interventions. Survivors of human trafficking were also given a platform to speak, providing insights into the lived experiences of this crime. 

“Being concerned about trafficking of human beings is not enough; there is a pressing need and obligation to take action – an obligation that rests with participating States. It is in your streets, in your shops, and on your servers that the fight against trafficking must be waged.” 

Helga Maria Schmid – OSCE Secretary General 

ECPAT International and ECPAT members active in the OSCE region, specifically in Central Asia, gathered in Vienna to discuss the issue from a child rights and child protection perspective. They agreed on the need to boost coordination efforts with NGOs, decision-makers, and other sectors in the region, as well as the implementation of National Action Plans to protect children from sexual exploitation and trafficking.  

“We need to promote strong regional cooperation in Eastern Europe and Central Asia together with a multi-stakeholder approach. We must stop children from becoming victims of sexual exploitation and trafficking”   

Stana Buchowska, Regional Coordinator for Eastern Europe and Central Asia – ECPAT International 

More than 850 participants coming from anti-trafficking leaders, governments, NGOs, the academia, the private sector, and diplomatic missions’ representatives from 57 States of the OSCE region attended the event online and on-site. 

Read more about the event here.